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Estonia's Pro-NATO Ruling Party Claims Victory in Parliamentary Polls


A little girl helps her mother to cast a ballot at a polling station in Tallinn, Estonia, March 1, 2015.

Estonia's ruling center-right pro-NATO Reform party claimed victory late Sunday in parliamentary polls dominated by security concerns from a militarily resurgent Russia.

Unofficial results hours after the polls closed showed the party of Prime Minister Taavi Roivas with nearly 28 percent of the vote, and Reform's coalition partner, the Social Democrats, carrying 16 percent. The opposition pro-Kremlin Center party was shown winning about 25 percent, with most votes counted.

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves is expected to ask Roivas to form a new government on Monday.

In the runup to the polls, Roivas had voiced fears about Russian interference in neighboring Estonia after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula last year.

He also called in recent days for more NATO troops and hardware to monitor Russian military maneuvers near the border.

The 35-year-old Roivas is the European Union's youngest leader. Estonia joined the bloc in 2004 and has its lowest public sector debt.

Some material for this report came from AFP and Reuters.